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Published on Feb 10, 2024

Did you ever wonder why every gunsmith you meet seems to be a grumpy, jaded, cynical old man? This blog is hopefully going to help you understand.

It's very well understood every time we're drawn by the selection at the local gun shop and we go through the process of purchasing a new firearm; Guns. Aren't. Cheap. This posting is meant to be what I hope will be the start to a long and productive series of writings helping shooters understand their firearms (from a gunsmith's perspective) in a way that will help protect their investment. Firearms are tools. Whether a person is protecting themselves or their home and loved ones against home invaders, protecting society from similar criminals, hunting game for food, competing against fellow sport shooters, or just having a good time shooting at inanimate targets, FIREARMS ARE TOOLS. There is a sentiment that comes to mind, one of the countless eminently quotable lines of dialogue by Marine Corps Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, R. Lee Ermey's character in the classic film by Stanley Kubrick "Full Metal Jacket." The line is "YOUR WEAPON IS ONLY A TOOL. IT IS A HARD HEART THAT KILLS." There is great truth to this in a defensive or hunting scenario, but irresponsibility can also kill. Anyone experienced in the use of firearms should also be familiar with Colonel Jeff Cooper's basic rules of firearms safety. There have been variations over the years, but the philosophical principles and desired end results remain the same: Prevent unintentional deaths, injuries, or property damage from fired ammunition. The basic premise is as follows:

1) Treat every firearm as if it was loaded.

2) Do not point the firearm at anything you do not wish to shoot.

3) Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until your sights are on target and you are ready to fire.

4) Be sure of your target and what is behind and in front of it.

These concepts are paramount to safe and responsible shooting. We will revisit them regularly as a constant reminder of how vitally important they are. They're meant to "overlap" and allow a margin for safety for the regular individual. If a shooter forgets ONE of these principles momentarily, nothing catastrophic can happen. But the very second a shooter disregards two or more of these principles, terrible things can and will occur. We can discuss later the difference between a TRUE accident and NEGLIGENCE. Any time there has been what is widely termed an "accident" involving a firearm, two or more of these principles have been disregarded. It can happen FAST. It can happen as fast as a bullet can leave the gun. If you want to avoid inadvertently shooting someone I suggest you read this whole post again. There's no shame in being safe, but there's plenty of shame in "accidentally" shooting yourself or someone else. There are more nuanced rules of safety which we will discuss in future posts, but anyone interested in NOT UNINTENTIONALLY SHOOTING SOMEONE should read this more times than I proof-read it while writing it. Until next time.

The Grumpy Gunsmith


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